Friday 7 December 2012

Archigram: The New Generation

Archigram Group 

   An architectural group of students and office assistants formed, Archigram, a magazine based in London in 1960s. Bored of what was being built at the time, Peter Cook and David Greene meet up with Michael Webb, who was working on his fourth year project, Furniture Manufacturers Association Headquarters to escape the boredom of London by writing letters to the press, creating projects to submit for competitions, and to criticize current projects. As more people joined each of these meetings, they started to discuss the possibility of publications since British magazines during the time did not publish any student work. The name Archigram came from the idea of communication. Therefore, similar to the word telegram, the magazine was named archi(tecture)-gram. The group all came from different schools giving the magazine an interesting lead. The first publication of the magazine in 1961 included a poem by David Greene explaining the physical and conceptual barriers of form and expression in the built environment. By the second magazine in 1962, Dennis Crompton, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron, who were already working at the London County Council's architects department, were invited to join the magazine. As Peter Cook wrote in the comic strip below, he, Webb, and Greene were “in awe of Ron, Warren, and Dennis” since they already had the experience of building. In 1963, the group of six worked together on an exhibition, “Living City”.


   At the Institute of Contemporary Art and from then the name Archigram stuck to the group. Starting with Mike Webb’s creation of interesting space cities, many of the group’s projects drew ideas of technology from the ‘Space Race’. They challenged what the habitation of the future would be like with the digital information and increase in consumerism in their famous projects such as the Walking City, Plug-in City and Instant City. The Amazing Archigram 4 was the pinnacle of the group’s and each of the member’s individual schemes. By the 1970s, the group was seemed to have started a firm, Archigram Architects, and had received a major contract to design a casino in Monaco in 1969. However, when the project failed in 1973 causing the Archigram office to close in 1974, this marked the end of the Archigram.

 Archigram Story 1Archigram Story 2Archigram Story 3Archigram Story 4Archigram Story 5Archigram Story 6